A reduction in the frequency of warrant of fitness (Wof)
inspections for cars first registered after 2000 drew both
criticism and praise yesterday.
The move is touted by the Government as benefiting about
900,000 motorists, saving them time and about $159 million a
But the Motor Trade Association (MTA) maintains the move will
increase risks to motorists and ultimately cost them more.
The AA, meanwhile, backs the changes.
The Government announced yesterday it planned to reduce the
inspection frequency from six months to annually for vehicles
built from the year 2000 onwards.
Vehicles built before 2000 would continue to require six-
The MTA said the changes would mean the loss of more than
2000 jobs because fewer inspections would need to be carried
out, pushing more skilled people out of the automotive
Furthermore, it would increase risks to motorists and
ultimately be more expensive for them.
''Many vehicles will now be travelling twice the distance and
going twice as long before undergoing the minimum safety
check,'' MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said.
''Many drivers rely on this as their primary safety and
operational assurance. In an automotive environment like
ours, that is too long and too far.''
Mr Stronach said it was a ''piecemeal deconstruction'' of the
vehicle inspection regime that has served and protected
motorists well for many years.
Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said the changes
would result in more road deaths.
''Despite what people have been conned into believing, the
current six-monthly Wof check is a major life-saver.''
He dismissed Government claims that few accidents are caused
by vehicle defects and that the six-monthly Wof checks are
''Take a typical situation where a child runs out in front of
your car. Whether or not that child gets killed may well
depend on the state of your vehicle's brakes and shock
absorbers,'' he said.
AA Otago District Council chairman Jeff Donaldson said the
Government's decision was the logical result of a thorough
analysis of local and international data which showed that
very few accidents were caused by vehicle defects, and that
New Zealand's six-monthly inspection was not
''The arguments for retaining a six-monthly inspection are no
longer as valid today as they were decades ago when cars were
less safe and reliable.''
Mr Donaldson said the changes reflected public opinion, with
70% of AA members surveyed supporting an annual Wof for
vehicles up to 12 years old.
With only 2.5% of accidents involving a mechanical defect,
and just 0.4% where it was the sole cause, the evidence did
not support testing all vehicles every six months, or four
times as often as most other countries, he said.
''Even with these changes, New Zealand will still have the
most frequent inspection regime in the world. Most other
countries only inspect vehicles every two years, or only when
it is sold.''
Euan Philpot, chief executive of Jevic NZ Limited which is
set to take over Vinz, also supported the changes, saying
that they would reduce costs, increase competition and create
opportunities for vehicle inspection companies to develop new
Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said research
showed the package of changes would benefit motorists and
businesses by $159 million a year. This included savings in
inspection and compliance costs, justice and enforcement
costs, and time spent by motorists getting their Wof.
Options relating to information and education campaigns and
police enforcement activities, including funding details,
would be worked through by the relevant government agencies
in the coming months, he said.
Changes to the Wof system are expected to be in place by July
2014 or earlier, he said.
Key changes to the
Changes to the Wof system expected to be in place by July
2014 or earlier.
• An initial inspection for new cars, followed by
annual inspections once vehicles are three years old.
• Annual inspections for vehicles three years and
older, and first registered on or after January 1, 2000.
• Six-monthly inspections for vehicles first
registered before January 1, 2000.
• Extra police enforcement